His Grace William Milton, the Duke of Somerset [Chris V]

Player: Chris V
Rank: Duke (Rank 5)
Religion: Church of England
Reputation: Graced
Email: william_milton@albion.chaosdeathfish.com

The current Duke of Somerset is becoming an increasingly influential man in the kingdom, taking a much greater interest in government than his father. A widower, he lost his wife shortly after the birth of his daughter Katherine. (Katherine is now one of the most eligible debutantes in England!) The Duke takes a great interest in England's foreign policy and is well-known in the Courts of Europe. He is currently engaged to a Royal Princess of France and known to be respected by Princess Elizabeth of Scotland. Somerset is also known to be an important figure in the East India Company, though some nasty rumours swirl around his present standing within the Company. The King clearly does not believe these scandals though for he has recently appointed Somerset to the Privy Council.

East India Company Proprietor (Rank 4), retired

This character has Stay Thy Hand, Father


In War

War Most Uncivil - The Making and Unmaking of Albion

… and in those earliest days the rule of Queen Elizabeth II could so easily have ended prematurely. A foreign queen little known to the people, inheriting power against all expectation from her foully murdered husband, rebellion and plague abroad about the land, and with her father - a rival claimant - encamped with an army in the north of her Kingdom. Without the unstinting support of such as the Duke of Somerset willing to use all their influence to strengthen her rule it is likely that her rule would have been but a minor footnote of history.

The Duke's considerable influence abroad was vital in ensuring that both the Dutch Republic and Kingdom of France intervened on the side of the Queen, supplying scarce powder to her armies. At home his armies and ships rallied to the Queen's side and fought alongside de Vries and the Dragoons at Bristol, keeping the port there open so that supplies could reach the harried Royalist troops. More important than this physical support though was the Duke's tireless domestic diplomacy in support of the Queen.

No noble or merchant will now admit to anything less than immediate and complete support for the Queen, but in the dark days of the civil war loyalists and traitors were heavily outnumbered by waverers or opportunists, unsure of who to support. Without the Duke the Queen would doubtless have triumphed, but many more necks would have hung from gibbets and the wounds that still divide…

The War in Somerset

…but with London burning and the Palace besieged, war quickly spread across the rest of the country. The port city of Bristol became an early focus as Catholic rebels marched upon the weakly garrisoned city and de Vries marshalled his scattered Dragoons to the defence. The Lady Katherine Milton, Viscountess of Bristol, became the figurehead of the city's defence. As she strode the city walls in ill-fitting armour she lent her strength and determination to even the lowliest of spearsmen. Word was already abroad in the city that her beloved husband had joined the ranks of the angelic Host and every man she met in those early days remarks on the curious mixture of loss and celebration in her eyes. Of course few will now admit that it was not just the Viscountess' words that strenghtened their resolve, for the idea that her husband would lead the Host of Heaven to the aid of the city was everywhere.


When William Milton felt confident enough of the Queen's support in parliament, and in the wisdom of her councillors, to leave London to purge his county of Somerset of traitorous Catholics, he found the wharves of Bristol already bustling with ships delivering arms and powder to the Loyalist cause. His good standing in France and the Netherlands ensured that the arsenals of those kingdoms stood open for the supply of England in her hour of need and his own daughter had kept the docks safe from the Catholic onslaught. With the great ports of Southern England still disputed, or harried by the raid of phanatic Jesuits or their ilk, Bristol became the great storehouse and entreport of English freedom from Popish tyranny.

The Duke marshalled the by-now experienced warriors of Bristol, and raised great levies from the loyal populace of Somerset, to use in freeing the rest of the south-west of England. The hardest fought prize was the mighty Franzberg Cannon (the “Franzwenger”) which the Pope himself had ordered destroyed. The disorganised rebels, their siege of Bristol broken, and their cause clearly lost now turned their attention to a goal that seemed to be still within their grasp.

With evidence of the duplicity of Spain in supplying the rebels the Duke too turned his attention to the Cannon and the vengeance it could provide against that unworthy foe. Weary armies converged on the cannon even as its mighty roar began to punish the despicable Spaniards who sought to do their own harm to Albion from afar. The Royalist forces were outnumbered however and weary while the traitors fought with the fervour of their hideous faith. Step by grudging step the loyalists were pushed back towards the Cannon until their backs grew hot with the heat from its barrel and the faces of their foes seemed lit like demons by its glow.

The Duke of Somerset had been the patron of the mad inventor Hans Franzberg for a number of years now and the Cannon was not the only weapon at his disposal. The locks of a secret vault were opened and from it spilled killing devices such as a fire-breathing golem (rumoured to have been intended as a gift for the royal wedding in happier times!) and another with long-spinning swords instead of hands. Faced with these horrors the Catholic lines wavered and then broke.

At Peace

Prime Minister

… The Queen placed an ever increasing burden of administration on the shoulders of the Duke of Somerset as the wars that marred the early years of her reign dragged on. But William Milton proved equal to the task, ensuring that her armies were always supplied with food and powder, that her taxes were collected even in the dark times of rebellion and that the devastated merchants of London rebuilt their trade and England's mercantile strength recovered even before her military and political. It was in recognition of the abilities he had displayed so well that in the first full year of peace she named him the first amongst her ministers, or as it was later styled her “Prime Minister”.

It is an interesting curiosity that two of the Queen's inner circle of advisers, the Countess of Reading and the Duke of Somerset, should have once been rumoured to have been enemies within the East India Company and have departed the affairs of John Company at much the same time (though it is still unclear if it was for the same reasons). Within the Court however they clashed seldom and cooperated frequently, the Countess taking a greater interest in the personal business of the Queen and her own and her monarch's interests in magickal experimentation. Together with the Archbishop of York, one of the greatest Churchmen of his or any other age, the government of Albion was confident, competent and fair. A potent mixture that was an absolute requirement for the Kingdom to survive the rising waters ….


The first wedding of the Duke of Somerset and Princess Margeurite of France proved a hurried affair. Though most of the nobles of England and the Queen herself were in attendance, and the marriage ceremony was performed by no less a cleric than the Archbishop, it should not be forgotten that many attended in dented armour still clad in the smell of spent powder. Though all remarked on the love and devotion that shone so clearly from the Princess as she stood in front of the altar, and of the passion of the marriage kiss that raised such a mighty cheer from the grizzled host, the marriage was still a powerful political statement. For the King of France granted his permission and blessing for the marriage in the middle of the Civil War when the Royalist victory seemed less than guaranteed. At the time most considered this an expression of confidence in the Realm and its young Queen but at the Court of King Louis it was interpreted as confidence in the Duke of Somerset. It was, indeed, rumoured that the King had set aside estates in Bourbon for the young couple should Somerset be lost…

… by the time of the Duke's appointment as first Prime Minister in 1609 his doting wife had already borne him a son and twin daughters. With the kingdom at peace a second marriage ceremony was performed, the King of France himself attending to give his daughter away….

In Death

The Duke of Somerset passed away in his sleep after a short illness, surrounded by his family, at the age of 66. He died a few years after the Queen he had served so loyally and only a few months before the birth of his first grandson. He is interred in Oxford Cathedral with the other great heroes of the previous generation.

bio/william_milton.txt · Last modified: 2007/09/24 15:16 by ivan